Friday Message 11/7

Greetings from school!  Can't believe Thanksgiving is just around a couple of corners! 
It's been a really good fall for our student-athletes given there was so much doubt about their seasons even happening at all. We wrap up the first three+ months today with congratulations going out to the last two teams standing on behalf of Notre Dame - both our boys and girls cross-country squads finished as Region runners-up thus earning the right to compete in this afternoon's TSSAA State Cross Country Meet in Hendersonville, TN. Individually, Colton Sanborn captured the boys Region title and Sophie Welch finished 2nd for the girls. Good luck to all our Irish runners! The winter sports are praying now.
Congratulations also go out to our entire Homecoming Court but especially seniors Emmeline Crisp and Maverick Tucker, crowned Homecoming Queen and King at last Friday's festivities. 
Two health related matters ... 
Please check your email for follow-up information and the opportunity to sign your student up for Tuesday's (11/10) Galen Medical Flu Shot Clinic coming to campus. Deadline for responding is this Sunday in order that we can assist them in having the appropriate amount of supplies. Special thanks to them for coming out to campus.
And a notification of a different sort, we've been informed of a student with head lice. They're now at home while doing the prescribed treatments. Thankfully, we've been at six feet, trying to avoid one another as best we can and sanitizing desks after every class. Still, we wanted to be sure to let you know.
Many, many thanks to everyone who has supported this year's Catholic School Raffle. There's still time to help us before the Christmas rush of gift-buying overwhelms you. A single $10 ticket gives you 16 chances to win cash, the smallest of which is $1,000 - and you can buy a bunch of Christmas gifts with that. Or you can buy more and give those away as gifts. Best of all NDHS receives 65% of every ticket sold!!!!!! And we can do a lot with that ourselves. Thank you so much. 
Last week we mentioned our upcoming At-Home Community Outreach Project that we will undertake in the week after Thanksgiving. We thought it would be good to send out some basic information (see attached) offering more than you may have gotten directly from your students. 
     That week of "school-days-at-home" will be out of the norm for sure, but I can't think of a better time to reach out to and for others than right after the Thanksgiving holiday ... right after we've all gotten the opportunity to realize exactly what we do have. 
In a similar thrust, our Houses and Weekend Warrior students are currently collecting toiletry items for the Food Bank. Shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes (travel sizes will work too) are all being collected in the boxes outside the Main Office. The hope is to deliver next Tuesday, Nov. 10th after school. Thank you for considering if you can help!
We appreciate everyone who has been able to support our No-Shave November effort to benefit the Food Bank. I told our kids that with their contracts and relationships with food wholesalers, a gift of $1 allows them to buy 4 meals. Thus each one of our $15 wristband donations buys 60 meals. That's a lot of good. It's not really about the "Spirit Day" wear nor the out-of-uniform opportunity during exams, it's about those who don't always know from where the next meal comes. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  
Note to Freshman Parents - As we were forced to do with the Senior Retreat, we are also postponing the upcoming Freshman Retreat due to the recent uptick in trends. We are hoping and praying that second semester presents us with a much improved landscape in which each grade of students can gather in groups, large and small, as a retreat is meant to be.
In case you missed it, here's a repeat of the upcoming exam schedule. The afternoon times you see are for our At-Home Learners to come to campus so a reduced number of students will be present. All exams will be given on campus.
     Thursday, Nov 19 ... 1st/2nd period exams  (8:20 - 11:35) and(12:00 - 3:15)
     Friday, Nov 20 ... 3rd/4th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and(12:00 - 3:15)
     Monday, Nov 23 ... 5th/6th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and(12:00 - 3:15)
     Tuesday, Nov 24 ... 7th/8th period exams (8:20 - 11:35) and(12:00 - 3:15)
In the Catholic Churches across the Diocese, the next two weekends will provide church-goers with an opportunity to make a second-collection contribution to our Catholic Schools. We've provided a video message from two of our students in that regard and a direct link to make a gift if you can. Regardless of faith or what church you'll be attending (or possibly watching in this pandemic), we thank you for your kindness and generosity!
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What's your Thanksgiving gonna be like this year?
Like most folks, our family normally has a plan - who's coming, you bring this, you bring that, always more than enough - but this year, we've got no idea. Over the years, our holidays have developed a typical flow - a flow in which we had settled into an every-other-year sort of rotation. 
In our A-cycle years, we host our daughters and their families; in the B-cycle, they travel off to be with in-laws and instead we host my three sisters and their families.  
When life was typical.
But now I'm torn. It's a B-cycle year for us so that's a gathering of 15-20 depending. But every doctor in America seems to be saying we should just wave to them through our computer screen with a "We're having apple pie for dessert here, what are yall having over there?" sort of holiday!
Does that even count? Can you watch a parade that way?
I'm all for being smart, more numbers do indeed mean more possibilities. And those doctors got to be doctors for a reason. But there's a flip side - it will be the first holiday without our mom there to serve as matriarch. Leaving everyone out there on their own doesn't feel right either. 
You may be facing similar sorts of questions, trying to figure it all out, wondering who'll be left out, who'll be offended, who'll think we're nuts (whichever way we go), all just adding more stress than we already have. 
But whatever happens at your house, whatever happens at our house, I hope the people who are there to gather round the table help remind us all of the many blessings we do indeed have - in spite of this insanity.
But don't get in a hurry to stress out over it ... heck, we get to have the stress of exams before then. Did anyone say Happy Holidays?
Continued thanks for all you do!
George Valadie